There are some important distinctions between leaderologists and leadership coaches. An easy way to imagine the difference might be by comparing a psychologist to a life coach. When it comes to leadership development, leadership training, and organizational development, understanding the difference is vital for those investing in it.
At a glance, a leaderologist tends to have considerable education in Leadership, organizational, and personal development and usually focuses on developing leadership skills on either a group or individual basis. On the other hand, a leadership coach will have anywhere from days to many months of coaching education and will focus on helping an individual leader achieve a specific goal and objective. The differences and details will help you decide which is right for you.
A leadership coach typically focuses on working with individuals to help motivate them to achieve their specific leadership goals and objectives. They may use various techniques, such as mentoring, counseling, and feedback, to help leaders overcome challenges, develop existing skills, and achieve an established goal.
There are no educational requirements to become a leadership coach. Hence, the credentials that a leadership coach can have may vary dramatically. However, while many coaches have no formal coaching or leadership training, some take the time to invest in their skills and knowledge. A common certification will be in the art of coaching, such as the International Coach Federation (ICF) accreditation or similar coach training programs.
An important note is that such certifications are not solely focused on Leadership, its application, or its deployment. While such programs may touch on various leadership principles, the focus is specifically on coaching. For example, a certification from the ICF typically covers a wide range of topics related to professional coaching, such as the coaching process, coaching skills, ethics and standards, professionalism and business skills, and a section on a coaching specialty (e.g., executive coaching, leadership coaching, career coaching, and life coaching). Many programs require much less.
When considering a leadership coach, it’s essential to check their qualifications, experience, and track record of success in helping leaders achieve their goals. A coach with a deep understanding of the specific challenges and opportunities that leaders face, as well as experience working with leaders at different levels and in different industries, can be an invaluable resource for individuals looking to take their leadership skills to the next level.
A leaderologist focuses on helping individuals or groups improve their leadership skills through training, education, and development activities. They are skilled in designing and delivering customized leadership programs, conducting workshops, or providing one-on-one coaching.
The educational path to becoming an authentic leaderologist can vary depending on the specific role and organization in which the leaderologist may find themselves. However, some common qualifications include the following:
- A bachelor’s degree in Leadership. Sometimes, they may hold a degree in a related field, such as organizational development or psychology.
- A master’s degree in Leadership. Sometimes, they may hold a degree in a related field, such as business administration (MBA), organizational psychology, or organizational development.
- A doctorate in Leadership. Sometimes, they may hold a doctorate in a related field, such as organizational psychology.
Generally speaking, and per the National Leaderology Association’s requirements, a leaderologist would have at least two of their degrees in Leadership specifically. However, it is not uncommon for leaderologists to have degrees in different fields. For example, a leaderologist may have a bachelor’s in organizational leadership, a master’s in business administration, and a doctorate in Leadership. Another leaderologist may have a bachelor’s in Leadership and a master’s in organizational leadership with no doctorate. Occasionally, you may encounter a leaderologist holding a bachelor’s in Leadership, a master’s in Leadership, and a doctorate in Leadership. These leaderologists are also known as “authorities” due to their extensive coursework, research, and high level of knowledge in their field.
Unbeknownst to many, Leadership (the discipline) is a social science that studies human behavior and interaction within groups, organizations, and societies. The discipline offers a variety of degrees and academic and scientific journals and provides a considerable amount of research on the topic. It examines how leaders influence and motivate others, make decisions, and shape an organization’s culture and goals. Leadership also involves understanding and working with diverse perspectives, power dynamics, and group communication styles. It draws on theories and concepts from psychology, sociology, anthropology, and other social sciences to understand and improve leadership practices. Additionally, the research in Leadership is often done through qualitative and quantitative methods, which is the common social sciences practice.
Accordingly, a leaderologist will spend years learning Leadership, how it applies, and how to deploy it. In this pursuit, they will study a variety of topics. For example, leaderologist usually study leadership theories, practical applications, leadership history, coaching methods, strategic forecasting and decision-making, research methods, human resources, motivation techniques, change models, negotiating, facilitation, bias evaluation and control, mindfulness, emotional intelligence, human mind heuristics, organizational structure, psychology, business, international business and global trends, qualitative and quantitative analysis, influence, behavior evaluation, and so much more.
In an organizational setting, some leaderologists may also have a background in a specific industry, such as healthcare or finance, which can be beneficial in understanding the unique needs of the organization or industry they find themselves. In a private setting, it is important to consider the leaderologist’s track record of development. A leaderologist with a proven track record of success in developing leadership skills and a deep understanding of leadership principles, theories, and best practices can be a valuable asset for individuals and organizations looking to improve their leadership capabilities. Testimonials and reviews in this setting are important.
Which One Is Right For You?
You must consider your specific needs and goals when deciding whether to work with a leaderologist or a leadership coach. A leaderologist might be the better choice if you want to develop your leadership skills more comprehensively. They can provide you with the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to become a more effective leader in various settings and industries and are usually qualified to provide coaching services.
On the other hand, if you are not interested in comprehensive leadership development, but you’re looking to achieve a specific goal or overcome a particular challenge, then a coach may be more appropriate. Coaches can work with you to identify your strengths and weaknesses, set specific goals, and develop a plan to achieve those goals. They can also provide you with support and feedback as you work towards achieving your goals.
Finally, it should be noted that one approach is not mutually exclusive of the other, and they can complement each other. For example, a leaderologist can provide foundational knowledge and skills that can be leveraged by a coach to help you achieve specific goals. Similarly, a coach can provide the support and guidance needed to apply the principles and techniques learned through leadership development training. That said, a leaderologist who coaches may provide the biggest bang for your buck and help you achieve the most optimal outcome.
The Danger of Confusing The Two
There are differences, and the differences should be known. As demonstrated, leaderologists typically have specific education and training in their field, whereas coaches may have a more general background. Leaderologists often use methods and techniques that are not appropriate for coaching. In some instances, there could be legal and ethical issues when an individual who is not qualified or trained to provide certain services attempts to do so. But above all else, and arguably the most important reason for not confusing the two when it comes to leadership development and leadership training efforts, is that confusing a leaderologist with a coach will undoubtedly result in dissatisfaction for the client. Choose wisely.